Bride to Be Diaries: Our Sporty Bride is living out her Girlie Fantasies!

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sporty oct 17 me and matt

Our Sporty Bride is living out her Girlie Fantasies!

Hi all!

We’ve been very busy with friends’ weddings, engagements and a new addition to our little family…Dave the Sausage dog!

Sporty Oct 17 dave the sausage dog

We’ve also been busy trying to hand deliver as many of our wedding invites by hand as possible. Our invites were from Love-Lee Invitations and Kate created a lovely bespoke design for us- here is a little preview….

sport oct 17 wedding invite

310 days to go until my wedding. Where has that time gone?! It’s crawled right up until we hit the year mark…and now it seems to be speeding by. It’s crunch time, mainly when it comes to ensuring my wedding is paid for and then there is the bridesmaids dresses…or stresses as I like to call them.

Since my engagement I have been so sure about what I wanted for my wedding that planning it has been mostly a joy. Living out all my girly fantasises that I have been secretly dreaming about ever since I knew that I would eventually marry Matthew (About six months into our relationship…The first time he gave me food from his plate and went without himself just because I was eyeing it up).
sporty oct 17 Me and Matt at wedding

I’m one of those brides with many bridesmaids. I know what you are thinking, why give myself the stress of so many, but honestly at the time I had so many beautiful friends in my life I didn’t feel I could exclude any of them. Then there are my lovely sisters and I thought- it’s my wedding why should I have to choose!

My Pinterest board is littered with pictures of brides and their bridesmaids in beautiful dresses in many colours. My original idea was to have gold sequin showstoppers, but exploration into this highlighted how unrealistic it was. For a start, the price tag on the dresses in question was near enough £300 per dress, secondly following trying on one of the dresses I soon realised that sequins did not make for the most comfortable wearing experience- the fabric was heavy, itchy under the arms and did nothing to flatter my body type. I left that idea behind, feeling quite flat. My original color scheme was gold, blush and ivories…but now I’m finding myself choosing more pinks with silvers…so my color scheme is currently looking like this…but is evolving all the time.

sporty oct 17 colour scheme

So I went on a bit of an exploration mission with my youngest sister to a local bridesmaids’ dress shop in Swansea. She must have tried on about 20 different dresses for me and was very patient. Chiffon was definitely starting to stand out as my fabric of choice as it just skims almost every figure perfectly, so would suit all my bridesmaids as long as the cut was right. Once I had decided chiffon was what I was looking for I turned my head to styles. My bridesmaids range from sizes 10 to 18 and so I wanted something that would flatter them all. It transpired that an empire line, flowing chiffon dress was just what I wanted. The assistant at the dress shop was so helpful but the same problem transpired…price tags- all the dresses I had picked out were marked up at £200 or more. £200 per bridesmaid…and that’s even before hair, make-up and accessories are counted in!

I know weddings are big business however it’s very frustrating. It’s certainly achievable if you have one or two bridesmaids but I have 8…I wouldn’t ever want to exclude any of them just for the sake of money. After some research and soul searching I had a discussion with my girls about contributing towards their dresses. I had done so at my sisters wedding and heard that it was quite common but felt so nervous asking seeing as I had asked them in the first place. I shouldn’t have worried at all, as all my girls were kind and thoughtful, and of the opinion that they would have spent money on outfits etc. if they were coming as guests anyway.

One of my bridesmaids has been asked to be a bridesmaid on three separate occasions in 2017. Luckily for me, it’s means she can let me know about dresses and shops she has seen whilst she is out with her other brides. This has been especially helpful on my affordable bridesmaids’ dresses mission. She pointed me in the direction of WED2BE in Cardiff. I went down with my sisters. It’s a bit of an odd set up compared to other wedding shops I have been in, as it’s more of a warehouse with racks and racks of dresses. The staff were lovely and pointed me to a rack of bridesmaids dresses- then let me crack on! To my absolute relief the perfect dresses were contained on the rack. A lovely flowing chiffon number with draped shoulders and I also managed to get a bit of that sparkly glamour I so wanted. I’ve picked two dresses in complimenting colours that I’m so excited about! I won’t show you pictures just yet…got to keep some mystery!

Bride to Be Diaries: The Family Bride Finds Their Perfect Venue

 Hello lovely people
We are very excited to being to you the second instalment from our beautiful Family Bride, Abby. After her initial Engagement Story, we were over the moon when she agreed to become another on of our Brides to Be!
This week, her and Kyle have been on the hunt for their perfect venue, and as they have settled on the same one as Richie and I got married at, I could not approve more!
Over to you Abby……
B2B Family Banner

The Family Bride Finds Their Perfect Venue

Family Sept Abby and Kyle

Hello cwtchers!
How exciting- my 2nd blog already!
Being a mum of 2, running our home and being self employed life can be a little crazy at times- throwing ‘wedding planning’ into the mix has made it a whole lot crazier but you know what I am absolutely loving every second!!
After the engagement, my best friend (and maid of honour to be) bought me the most gorgeous wedding planning book and its all snow balled from there.
Family Sept Venue Booked!
1st thing on the list was a Venue… and there were so many things to think of! Did we want it close to home or further away, a church wedding or civil ceremony, old, new, modern, classic, hotel, manor house – the list goes on! We made some choices and I started phoning around to make appointments- i didnt want to leave anywhere unseen!
10 appointments made for the next few weekends, babysitters organised – Myself and Kyle were on the hunt!
After the 1st few we felt like we had learnt ALOT- different times of the year meant different prices, different days of the week, info about chair covers/dj’s/top tables – it was wedding overload!
Really pleased we did look around and take the time to see each one as 2 venue’s we almost didnt make (and about to cancel) turned into our favourite 2!
We live in Cardiff but decided a wedding in a Manor house/hotel a little further away meant our guests could enjoy a little night away if they wanted to.
After each appointment (before we picked the kids up) we went to visit a different coffee shop to talk prices/availability/what we liked and what we didnt- so that before we got back to being mum and dad, we could make some decisions.
It was between Miskin Manor and the Coed-y-Mwstwr hotel in Bridgend.
Both very classic looking with beautiful grounds. We loved Miskin manor as it had a very traditional feel to it, and a sort of enchanted look.
And We loved the Coed as it was full of character and tradition but with a real modern twist.
A family holiday at the end of August was our time to make a final decision to setting the date and choosing our perfect venue.
The Coed-y-Mwstwr won our hearts and it was all down to the wedding co-ordinating team that work there.
Family Sept CyM 2
From the moment we walked in to view it, we were made to feel welcome and they couldn’t do enough for us. We knew that this is what we wanted on our big day- someone to make it run as smooth as possible with that special touch. The venue itself like i mentioned is very traditional looking, but inside the Hendre suit is a fresh, modern light room with high wooden beams and by folding doors.
Family Sept CyM
We chose to be married in March 2019 as the grounds will be in full bloom of gorgeous daffodils and hopefully a crisp sunny day to make use of the beautiful surroundings!
Family Sept Save the Date
Super excited as the next part of Wedding planning is already happening 😊
So until next time…. happy wedding planning guys!

Bride to Be Diaries: The Sporty Bride is having Wedding Dress Isues

Hello you lovely lot

We are very happy to have our gorgeous Sporty Bride back for her second instalment, and this time, she is having wedding dress issues!

Find out why, over to you Natalie….

B2B Sporty Banner

Sporty Couple July

 

The athletic figure vs the wedding dress!

Hello all!

So…with 397 days to go it’s getting closer to the 12 months-to-go mark. Having booked my wedding two years before the date to give myself time to pay for it there have been times it has certainly seemed impossibly far away. I can’t wait to get to that ‘Year to go!’ milestone. It’ll certainly help H2B get more excited as it’s just to far in the future for his attention span! I’ve also booked a lot of my vendors and small details well in advance. Too organised one might say!

Sporty 397 Days

At least I’ve had the rugby, a holiday and a trip to California to keep me occupied…

Sporty Holiday July

Buying the dress was one of the activities I was most excited about. Being sporty and a bit tomboy-ish means that I don’t always feel all that feminine. I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my mam and closest family in the ultimate girly experience (up to this point in my life at least)- buying my wedding dress!

In my head I imagined walking into a dress shop, being treated like a princess and leaving with the perfect dress. As usual though… it wasn’t all plain sailing!

The first dress shop we popped into was more of a exploratory mission- it was off the cuff on a Sunday afternoon in Cardiff…no appointment. It was lovely to try on some beautiful dresses and I found that what I thought I wanted was really nothing like I expected!

Being tall and slim; I had an image in my mind of a slim fit dress. Most of friends and family would say that’s what they saw me in. However, when trying on these dresses I found they didn’t suit my ‘pear’ shape created by my small waist and broad hips (If I hear the term ‘child-baring hips’ one more time….). I was convinced by my mother to try on a ‘princess style dress’ and funnily enough the way the dress style sat on my hips really emphasized my waist and made me feel less self-conscious about my wide hips. It was a revelation! Still nothing I tried on there really made me feel like it was the dress. The dress assistant was really friendly and even though we had made it clear we didn’t want to buy anything that day she was really helpful and patient.

A few weeks later, I saw an advert on facebook for a dress shop near to where I live in Swansea. I booked an evening appointment and went with my Mam and Auntie. Cue the beginning of a painful experience. The shop assistant asked me to go around and pick out the dresses I liked. I didn’t really know what I was looking for and found this really difficult. I asked for some help and was told that she wouldn’t know what I liked so ‘how could she possibly pick anything for me?’. Luckily my mam is quite good at diffusing awkward silences and jumped in to help me choose some pretty dresses. Everything I tried on was a disaster. Whilst everything looked beautiful on the hanger it really didn’t suit me at all. The shop assistant tutted (yes she did!) at everything I wore and even commented on my ‘boxy’ figure and how not many dresses would suit me. In fact, the only dress she went into raptures over was one of her own design- funnily enough- until I asked if I could have a different lace…she wasn’t impressed.

I left feeling pretty unconfident about ever finding a dress that gave me that feeling and made me feel less ‘boxy’. I had no idea what would suit me. It put me off looking and I took a break for a couple of months.

Cue Sharon and Tracey at Wedding Belles in Pyle, Bridgend. My auntie recommended I go because that was where she had got her wedding dress.

Sporty Wedding Belles

My mam, auntie and mother in law to be came along for moral support. The ladies there instantly put me at ease by suggesting dress styles they thought would suit my figure and pulling out some dresses for me to look at. Nothing was too much trouble. The best piece of advice they gave me was to throw away all my pre-conceptions and just try things on. So I did! Though I had begun nervously, by fifteen minutes in I was starting to feel excited and special- like a bride! My mam carefully combed the rails and picked out her favourites and I was happy to let her do so. Mother’s know best they say…

Sporty July And she certainly did. It was about the 18th dress I had tried on that day but as soon as I put it on I loved everything about it. The neckline, the skirt, the back. It made me feel beautiful and all the things I thought I wouldn’t feel. It was the one! I’ve recently been back to see it when my order came in and I’m so pleased with it still.

The biggest things I have learned so far;

  1. Picking out my groom’s suit was easy because he was so sure of what he wanted (For once).
  2. I have absolutely no clue what 90% of fashion terms mean. I always thought ‘boning’ meant something completely different…
  3. Having an athletic figure does not mean you won’t look absolutely beautiful in the right dress. Sporty girls can be girly too!
  4. Customer service isn’t always the priority in some wedding shops but is key to the experience.

In summary, to those of you about to buy your big day dresses. I do recommend going to multiple shops but thoroughly researching what others have said to avoid bad experiences. Don’t go too late just in case you don’t find your dream dress right away. Most of all, leave all your preconceptions at the door and be open minded!

To those about to shop, I salute you!

Speak Soon,

Natalie x

Bride to Be Diaries: Our Procrastinating Bride is feeling on top of things!

Good morning one and all!

Sweating enough!? Sheesh its a hot one this week, not that we are complaining particularly, just wishing the UK was a little more equipped with air con and ceiling fans!

So its time for our gorgeous Natasha, aka The Procrastinating Bride, to let us know how her planning is going in her second instalment.  And considering her moniker, she appears to feel on top of things…

B2B Procrastinating Banner

Our Procrastinating Bride is feeling on top of things!

Tash1Hey, Cwtchers!

Hope you’ve been enjoying the glorious sunshine we’ve been having. I can’t believe that this time last year, Steve proposed! He came home with a bunch of beautiful lilies last week for our engage-iversary (we didn’t actually celebrate this by the way) and it suddenly dawned on me that there are less than 6 months until our wedding, eeek!

PB lillies

Now, considering I’m the Procrastinating Bride, a lot of things seem to be sorted. I say a lot of things, we’re talking on Tash terms here. By a lot of things, I mean the venue, the dress, and we’ve almost come to a decision on food. (We’re both foodies so narrowing our choices down needed a lot of thought.)

If you’re an organised bride, you’re probably thinking that I’ve only scratched the surface with planning but, in my head, we’re on top of things.

PB wedding planner

So, what did we do first?

We booked our venue pretty quickly. My mum and I were browsing at venues online a few weeks after Steve and I got engaged; admittedly, I wasn’t really looking properly because it seemed like early days, but there was one venue that stood out from all the others. It happened to be holding a showcase event the following week so Steve, my parents and I decided go along. We loved it and so it was decided that we’d get married at Oldwalls: the first and only venue we went to see.

As I said earlier, Steve and I are foodies so it only made sense for us to go to a cake tasting session. I was in my element. Not that I ever need an excuse to eat cake but, when it’s part of the planning process, wedding planning instantly becomes more appealing when cake is involved. Particularly when you’re not a planner anyway.

We stuffed our faces with a range of delicious favours, including chocolate and salted caramel Italian buttercream, and around two hours later, we rolled away with full stomachs and happy hearts. To all couples getting married: cake tasting is an experience not to be missed, even if you just come away from it with ideas.

PB cake tasting

I came across Cakes by Katy at Cwtchfest. Go along to the next one if you can; it’s worth it and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Cwtch Girl!

Next: the dress. I won’t share details of my dress on here for obvious reasons but, Laura May Bridal on Cardiff’s Crwys Road and Allison Jayne in Swansea are two shops that I’d recommended to any bride who hasn’t yet found ‘the dress’.

Not only were the dresses beautiful, the overall experience at both stores couldn’t have gone any better. When you’re trying on a dress, the last thing you want is to feel rushed or under pressure to make a decision and I can honestly say that Laura May and Allison Jayne did not even come to close to making me feel this way. I tried on my first ever wedding dress in Laura May, an Enzoani number, and remember feeling how surreal it was to be trying on wedding dresses!

That’s all from me for now. We’ve got our 6-month meeting with Oldwalls next week, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to update you on next time!

Happy planning to all brides and all grooms! If all else fails, eat cake.

The Procrastinating Bride xxx

Bride To Be Diaries: Spring Bride Ali Does All Or Nothing

Our Spring Bride Ali tells us about all the life adventures she has planned as well as planning a wedding! There is nothing like doing all at everything at once.

B2B Spring BannerOur Spring Bride Ali


spring bride profile

All Or Nothing

Ladies, how are we?

Where do I begin?

Weddings, are, stressful. Fact.
Tell you what’s more stressful?
Thinking it’s a good idea to change jobs, plan a wedding and sell and buy a new house all in the same 6 months.
Yeah. So, our lives have become even crazier recently.
Photo 15-07-2016, 17 40 26
We decided at the beginning of the month to look in to the Help To Buy Wales scheme and a New Build property near our current house. At first, it was purely out of interest. We wondered how much it would cost, and how far in the future a move could be realistic.
It turned out it was doable, well, now.
So of course, we decided to go for it.
So, our house sold for the full asking price after a week on the market, the mortgage for the new house is agreed, and the house will be ready in January… just under 3 months before I Do’s. As if moving house isn’t stressful enough.
But, it is ridiculously exciting. And I need to remind myself of that.
Photo 10-08-2016, 10 23 24
Also, I decided a few months back to start focusing on looking for a new job, as the commute to my current base is slowly driving me insane. Anyone who’s ever done the West to East or vice versa will know how mind numbing and soul destroying that stretch of the M4 is.
I applied for the perfect role, much closer to home, and am overjoyed to have been offered the job. Super exciting. Of course that meant a hoohah with the new mortgage. It is all sorted now but it was a bit manic.
Again, changing jobs is quite stressful in its self….
Wedding things… I did have all in hand. And I felt much more on top of it all when it was the only thing I was dealing with.
Finding it a little more difficult now that the house and the job are factors too!
But…
I managed to get a little crafting done!
I’ve made out guest book frame…
Had a play about with calligraphy for our place cards…
We’re booked in to register intent…
And today I’ve contacted the venue to try to work out timings for the day so I can send out invites and schedules.Photo 22-08-2016, 13 56 38
Has anyone moved house close to their wedding day before? (I mean of you ladies reading as oppose to ever in the history of mankind haha)When we change address, it will be after we’ve registered intent etc. We’ll be in the same county, but will we need to contact the Registrar to change address?
I really do need to keep remembering that this is all very exciting. And try not to label it as stressful/ scary etc… I’m prone to anxiety so keeping my head above the water with all this is going to be a challenge… any coping strategies welcome.
At least I’m getting it all out of the way in one go hey?Babies next… haha!
Wow I think you will agree that Our Spring Bride has taken quite a lot on. You can do it Ali! If you missed Ali’s last post click here